GE hails India coal plant modernization

Aligning with India’s goal to improve the efficiency and reduce emissions of the country’s installed fleet of coal-fired power plants, GE Power Services has announced the results of a steam turbine modernization project at the Ukai power station in the Indian state of Gujarat.

GE modernized the 200 MW Bharat Heavy Electricals-supplied LMZ steam turbine at the 1350 MW plant using its Advanced Steam Path technology. The modernization features high-pressure and intermediate-pressure full module upgrades and a low-pressure inner block upgrade.

The retrofit will extend the unit’s life by 25 years, and has restored its output back to its original capacity of 200 MW.

GE said final tests at the plant displayed more efficient operations that will help the plant reduce its coal consumption by more than 140,000 tonnes per year, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 180,000 tonnes per year.

The work was carried out in consortium with NGSL, a 50-50 joint venture of NTPC and GE, and Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL).

“Power generation efficiency and emissions are widely discussed topics around the world and will play a critical role, especially in existing coal fleets, in how we work to meet future energy demands and challenges on a global scale,” said Pradip Dahake, managing director at GSECL.

“India is no exception. When it came time for us to modernize some of our generation equipment, it was GE’s cross-fleet service capabilities that gave us the efficiency and emissions improvements we were looking for.

“GE’s solutions enabled us to better position our operations to meet not only expected increases in demand, but also future, potential, emissions requirements.”

Ashok Ganesan, senior executive in charge of steam plant solutions for GE’s Power Services business, explained: “With GE’s acquisition of Alstom’s power business back in 2015, we added significant technologies and capabilities to help modernize coal-fired power plants.”

Tesla delivers on promise of battery storage for Australia

Tesla’s giant lithium-ion storage battery, reputed to be the world’s largest, has commenced delivering power to the Australian grid.

Company CEO Elon Musk had promised to deliver the project on time within 100 days or provide the battery for free; however, the firm finished it in 60 days.

Located near Jamestown, about 200 km north of Adelaide, the battery is connected to the Hornsdale wind farm run by French energy company Neoen.

When fully charged, the battery can power up to 30,000 homes for an hour. However, it will mostly be used to support and stabilize existing electricity supplies.

It’s a major boost for South Australia’s government, which came under fire last year after a power blackout, with the national government criticizing it for poor energy policy. Since then, South Australia has focused on building greater resiliency into its energy system.

It has been subsidized by the state government, which is building greater resiliency into its power network following blackouts last year that sparked a nationwide debate about the reliability of renewable energy.

The storm-induced blackout cost businesses in the state A$367 million ($276 million) last year, according to business lobby groups.

But it spurred the Labour-led state government to allocate A$550 million to a suite of energy reliability projects, including a gas fired power plant; additional incentives to attract more gas for use in South Australia; new government powers to direct operators to provide energy; and the Tesla battery.

Tesla’s battery is connected to the Hornsdale wind farm, which has 99 turbines with a generation capacity of 315 MW. It can provide roughly 129 MWh of power for the national grid when shortfalls emerge at peak times during summer or during severe weather events.

“The battery will bring essential grid stability by providing a fast injection of power. But it will not solve the problem of blackouts on its own,” said Franck Woitiez, managing director of Neoen Australia, which owns the wind farm and the battery.

“The completion of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in record time shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible,” said Tesla in a statement at the battery’s official launch.

It marks the latest phase of a lithium-ion battery revolution, which advocates say is transforming the world’s energy systems by enabling the integration of low-cost solar and wind power into national grids.

However critics, including Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull believe that coal-fired power still has a firm place in the country’s energy mix, citing renewable energy intermittency.

Iberdrola passes milestone at 350 MW Wikinger offshore windfarm

Iberdrola has completed the installation of all 70 wind turbines that comprise the 350 MW Wikinger offshore wind farm in the German waters of the Baltic Sea.

The company said it was “a new and significant milestone” as the windfarm enters the final phase of its commissioning.

Iberdrola has already completed the installation of the offshore substation and the inter-array cables connecting the turbines with the substation. The transmission system operator responsible for connecting offshore wind farms in the German Baltic Sea to the mainland, 50Hertz, is currently performing the final cable-laying works and technical tests.

Iberdrola is now moving its Wikinger base to a bespoke operation and maintenance building in the port of Sassnitz.

With an investment of nearly €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion), Wikinger is located off the northeast coast of the island of Rügen. It will supply around 350,000 German households, representing more than 20 per cent of the energy demand in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the region where it is located.

The wind turbines comprise a 222-tonne nacelle, a rotor that is 443 feet in diameter with 254-feet long blades, and a 246-feet high tower.

Iberdrola already operates or is developing multiple windfarm projects across European waters.

American Hydro wins overhaul deal in Belize

American Hydro has won a deal to boost the efficiency and performance of the Mollejon hydroelectric power plant in Belize.

The contract was awarded by Belize Electric Company to upgrade the plant with high quality hydroelectric solutions and technical support. Belize Electricity Ltd is the main distributor of electricity in Belize. The Mollejon plant, located on the Macal River about 110 km southwest of Belize City, is equipped with three hydroelectric turbines.

In the first stage, American Hydro – part of Finnish group Wartsila – will overhaul the G1 unit and replace old turbine components to increase overall plant efficiency.

The agreement includes new turbine runners, stationary turbine seals, wicket gates and rehabilitation of essential operating components as well as technical support of disassembly, installation and commissioning.

Installation and commissioning of the G1 unit is set to be completed in June 2018, prior to the Belize rainy season. The Mollejon plant has a nameplate capacity of 25.2 MW with an annual energy production of approximately 125 GWh.

Alan Maciejewski, American Hydro project manager for Mollejon, said the contract “provides American Hydro with the opportunity to showcase our capabilities and expertise with the upgrade and optimization of existing hydroelectric equipment”.

Grid powered by tidal energy for Papua New Guinea town

An Australian tidal energy company has agreed to develop a power grid underpinned by a tidal power installation for a town in Papua New Guinea.

Sydney-based Mako Tidal Turbines and business consultancy Kleinhardt this week signed a co-operation agreement with the government of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville for the development of a demonstration tidal power site in conjunction with a grid serving local businesses.

The installation is planned to be sited within the Buka Passage, a narrow body of water in the Autonomous Region between Buka Island and Bougainville Island, in eastern Papua New Guinea.

Mako said the natural flow of the tides and currents in the Buka Passage, which is 4 km long and averages 400 metres wide and 20–30 metres deep, is ideal for tidal energy.

The firm said it will initially undertake detailed resource mapping of the Buka Passage using its proprietary systems, and will separately install a tidal turbine demonstration site to provide electricity to a local shoreline business.

In addition, Mako and Kleinhardt aim to identify partners to formulate a business case for a renewables-based electricity grid to meet the needs of the 50,000 people living in and near Buka Town. Sources of funding will be investigated to ensure the grid can be upgraded to meet the needs of a growing population, the companies said.

Douglas Hunt, Mako’s managing director, said his firm was “pleased that the Autonomous Bougainville Government has granted us a two-year exclusive mandate to bring together a group of leading renewable energy and storage technology providers to plan the region’s first city-scale renewable-based electricity grid, with tidal energy from the Buka Passage as a key component.”

The two-year project “will become a regional showcase of how tidal energy can benefit coastal populations,” he added.

GE wins Bangladesh gas turbine deal

GE Power has been selected by Jiangsu Etern Company to supply its LMS100 gas turbine for an upcoming 100 MW simple-cycle natural gas-fired power plant in the city of Shahjibazar in Bangladesh.

The multi-million order includes supplying the gas turbine equipment and providing related services for installation, testing and commissioning. The project is expected to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2019.

The LMS100 is among GE’s high-efficiency aeroderivative gas turbines, which the company says is “ideally suited to meet fluctuating grid conditions due to their heightened flexibility and helping to provide a high degree of stability to the grid”.

It says the embedded dual-fuel capability gives additional flexibility to the gas turbine, enabling it to operate on both natural gas and LPG with zero fuel transition cost.

GE added that the LMS100 technology “is apt for the power plants currently running on heavy fuel oil or diesel in South Asian countries of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Jiangsu Etern has won the contract from Bangladesh Power Development Board for setting-up the Shahjibazar plant on a turnkey basis. The plant is part of a larger initiative undertaken by BPDB to improve grid stability with power generation systems.

The plant is designed to work under three modes – base, peak and swing – to meet the grid’s variable demand. The Shahjibazar project also marks BPDB’s first EPC contract for an aeroderivative gas turbine in the Bangladesh power segment.

“The South Asian region needs advanced technologies to support its growing power infrastructure – particularly those focused on managing grid frequency and load variations,” said Deepesh Nanda, chief executive of Gas Power Systems at GE South Asia.

ABB inverters power Egypt’s first grid-connected PV plant

Egypt’s first megawatt-scale solar PV plant is now up and running.

Commissioned in two phases during this year, the 20 MW plant in Toshka was built by Complete Energy Solutions, an EPC company specializing in turnkey solar solutions with operations based in Egypt and the UAE.

“The solar plant will add reliable power capacity to the grid in Toshka, which will support agricultural infrastructure development in this area,” said Yasser El Shazly, executive director of Complete Energy Solutions. “The plant also utilizes green technologies helping to reduce CO2 emissions as well as the usage of conventional sources of energy, reducing the petro-chemical subsidies for Egypt.”

ABB supplied all electrical and automation for the plant, including the design and engineering works; PVS800-IS inverter stations; PVS800-MVP pad-mounted, medium-voltage (MV) solutions; string boxes and a SCADA system for controlling the plant.

“We are proud to have participated in this eminent project,” said Naji Jreijiri, managing director of ABB in Egypt, Central & North Africa.

The 20 MW project was built with eight PVS800-IS inverter stations with a 2000 kW rating. Each inverter station contains two PVS800 central inverters. The inverter stations are connected to PVS800-MVP medium-voltage pad mounted solutions, containing a MV transformer and ring main unit for the MV connection.

Yokogawa to deliver FGD control system for Bosnian coal-fired plant

Yokogawa has won an order for a control system for a flue gas desulphurization (FGD) system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, representing what the company said will be the first such system in the western Balkans.

The integrated production control system will be installed at the 300 MW Ugljevik coal-fired plant in the northeast of the country, and is planned to be delivered by August 2018 and to come online in October 2019.

The brown coal-fired Ugljevik plant supplies around one-fourth of the power capacity for the Republica Srpska (Bosnian Serb Republic). Since brown coal has a high sulphur content, Yokogawa said, the emissions from Ugljevik’s flue stack contain high levels of sulphur dioxide.

Installation of the flue gas desulphurization system is expected to improve the regional environment and help Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet the environmental standards required to join the European Union.

The project will be managed by Yokogawa GesmbH, the company’s subsidiary in Austria and Central East Europe, and Ogranak Yokogawa Europe Branches Beograd, its Serbia office. The order came from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), a member of the consortium that will deliver the flue gas desulphurization system.

India needs $23bn to meet rooftop solar target, says report

A new report concludes that India will need to invest $23 billion over the next five years to meet its target of 40 GW of rooftop photovoltaics by 2022.

India’s government wants 175 GW of non-hydro renewables capacity by 2022 – comprising 60 GW onshore wind, 60 GW utility-scale solar, 10 GW bioenergy, 5 GW small hydro and 40 GW rooftop solar.

At the moment, the country has reached 60 GW of this 175 GW target.

Some 135 GW of the overall target is utility-scale, and the new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimates that India will need to invest $83 billion to build this capacity – which is $19 billion less than in previous BNEF estimates thanks to falling capital costs.

However, the report finds that some of the most interesting activity will be in small-scale solar.

Shantanu Jaiswal, head of India research at BNEF, said: “Rooftop solar in India will grow inevitably with or without the support of power distribution utilities.”

The cost of electricity from rooftop PV has halved in the last five years due to fierce competition in the market and a drop in equipment prices. In contrast, average retail electricity rates have increased by 22 per cent in the same period. This has made rooftop PV cheaper than commercial and industrial grid tariffs in all major states in India.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects residential sector PV growth to pick up rapidly post-2021. It notes that currently, “its attractiveness is being held back by the high upfront capital expenditure that is necessary, by a shortage of financing options, and the fact that grid electricity is cheaper for residential consumers with low consumption”.

Itamar Orlandi, head of frontier markets at BNEF, said: “Net metering is a far more important enabler for residential small-scale solar than for business-scale projects.”

The report notes that homeowners are usually drawing less power during the hours when their PV panels are producing, making self-consumption much harder. Solar projects also have a big and untapped potential to power irrigation pumps and reduce the use of back-up diesel generators.

Ashish Sethia, head of Asia-Pacific research at BNEF, said: “Growth of rooftop solar presents an opportunity for the distribution companies to diversify and start their own businesses in that area rather than lose customers to other rooftop developers.”

Power distribution companies can also work with other rooftop PV companies to provide operations and maintenance services, billing, lead generation, branding and sales support, Sethia added.

India is expected to install more renewable energy than fossil fuel power generation this year. Commissioned renewables projects amounted to 10 GW through September, compared with 8 GW for coal and gas

India has a target of installing 10,000 rural micro-grids with a cumulative capacity of 500 MW by 2021. However, BNEF notes that the risk of stranded commissioned assets as a result of grid extension is the biggest concern for investors.

“That is impeding rapid build-out of small rural grids. Five states in India have released micro-grid policies and regulations in the last two years to promote investment and installations in this sector.”

SENER wins biomass power plant contract in Spain

Engineering and technology group SENER has signed a contract with ENCE Energía y Celulosa to build a new low-emission biomass-fired power plant at ENCE’s energy complex in Huelva, Spain.

Under the terms of the turnkey contract, SENER will design, supply, build and commission the plant, and will operate and maintain it for the first years of operation.

The plant will run on biomass from the forestry and farming industries. At 40 MW, SENER said it will be one of the largest high-efficiency, low-emission biomass power plants in Spain.

The plant is planned to come online in the third quarter of 2019 and will be equipped with technologies similar to the Mérida biomass power plant that SENER also developed as a turnkey project for ENCE, the company said.

Due to the variety of types of biomass to be used, SENER noted that the plant will be equipped with an advanced fuel handing system, both for incoming biomass and for its preparation and storage.

The plant will also feature a gas combustion and treatment system designed to guarantee compliance with the strict requirements of the new European standard, BREF (Best Available Techniques Reference), which establishes best practices for the industry’s Large Combustion Plants in Europe.

Given the plant’s emissions requirements, SENER said it had designed a high-efficiency regenerative thermodynamic cycle with a built-in reheater in its furnace and a double-body turbine (high and low pressure), as well as multiple extractions.

The plant will also be refrigerated using cooling towers.

According to SENER, these measures will contribute to bringing the plant’s gross output to over 35 per cent. The company had already applied the same system at the Mérida plant, which reached an equivalent availability of 8025 hours in its first year of commercial operation.

“Thanks to its innovative design, which brings together high efficiency and low emissions, ENCE’s new 40 MW Huelva plant will become a benchmark among biomass electricity generation plants,” SENER said.